American Dream Within The Wizard of Oz – Morgan Evans

Why has L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz remained one of the most cited movies 75 years later[1]? There are so few book-made-movies that have lasted as long as this tale has from 1939. It is still shown annually on different television networks, despite further technological advances than just technicolor. For generations, this movie has adapted to fitting different applications and can be used to explain different themes and ideas while adapting to society over time.

One of the more prominent themes of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the American dream. It has been and still can be applied to various different political and social perspectives. One of the more striking themes of the children’s book is its analogous story to the American dream.

A very obvious connection between the story and the American dream is that idea that working hard can pay off. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy along with the scarecrow, tin man, and the cowardly lion all must trek along the land of Oz to get to the Emerald City, following the yellow brick road, in order to get Dorothy back home. Like the American dream, hard work is rewarded with the achievement of one’s goals. For Dorothy, it’s going home, which she eventually gets. In America, hard work can lead to that ideal family in a suburban home with a white picket fence.

The things that the scarecrow, the tin man, and the lion are seeking are also important elements to the American dream. Brains, heart, and courage are essential to succeed as Americans. Intelligence is important to getting a job in America to be able to work and being able to make money. This characteristic might be identified first for the classic order of the American dream: go to school, get a job, get married, have children, and live happily ever after.

Heart, and more specifically, love is important to accomplish the classic American dream. The story of how the tin man came to lost his heart is also a fascinating component that could relate to the image of a happy marriage. In the traditional view of the American dream, children will result from a happy marriage.

Finally, courage is the last identified trait. To me, this means standing up for what you believe in and doing right by your family and country. Although not as direct or clear as some of the other ideal characteristics for Americans, this was still important to living the American dream in the early twentieth century.

I also see the story as a promotion of a sense of patriotism for America. Even though Dorothy is a young girl from Kansas who describes the land as grey and bleak, she still comes to realize that there is no place like home: the United States. During her adventure through Oz, there are a number of different lands she must cross within their country. Some are exciting and are described to be beautiful, but Dorothy knows that despite the boring place that her Kansas life might bewith her aunt and uncle, she knows how important that is in her heart and values her family. All of which resembles the classic image of the American dream.

[1] Andrew Pulver, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road: Wizard of Oz is Still the Most Influential Hollywood Film,” The Guardian, January 20, 2015,

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